Arbor Annie Visits Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum – Review

Disclaimer: Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum has sponsored this post. All opinions belong to Ann Arbor with Kids.

The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is one of my favorite family places to visit in Ann Arbor. I was thrilled when the museum invited me to visit and to offer a ticket giveaway for my readers. Earlier this week Arbor Annie and I had a great adventure at the Hands-On Museum. My daughter was disappointed not to join us since she was at school during our visit. 

Arbor Annie Visits Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum - Review

Slideshow Video

After our visit to the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, I compiled the best photos into the slideshow below. Keep reading below the video for more details on our trip and for a giveaway of a Family 4 Pack of tickets:



Exhibits at Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum doesn’t wait to immerse guests in the action. As you proceed up the stairs from the front entrance into the concourse gallery, you use the Musical Stairs. At the top of the new stairs the H2Oh! exhibit, which was added in the summer of 2014, beckons to the left while straight ahead are exhibits like Google Earth, parabolic dishes, and more. 

Block Party

As a long time visitor of the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, Block Party always brings me a smile. Did you know that it was started as a temporary exhibit in April 2010 that was only supposed to run through September of 2010? The exhibit was so popular that it is still going strong 5.5 years later (and is on at least its third set of blocks).

Arbor Annie Visits Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum - Block Party

When the exhibit first opened, my daughter always wanted us to build her a structure. Over the last year and a half, it has been a welcome break that she builds her own structures. At least Arbor Annie fits in a smaller house than my daughter so it was quick to build.

All About You

The All About You Gallery teaches visitors about themselves and health. There are fitness activities, an ambulance and more to explore in this area. My daughter loves challenging herself on the fitness tests. Unfortunately Arbor Annie was too small for the bike, balance board, and other fitness tests.

World Around Us

One of my daughter’s favorite exhibits has always been the World Around Us exhibit on the second floor. She loves the bubbles, floor keyboard, and Blast-off. Other favorite activities in this exhibit include the climbing wall and Bernoulli Blast. 

Arbor Annie Visits Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum - World Around Us

Lyons Country Store & Michigan Nature Room

The Lyons Country Store and Michigan Nature Room are both on the second floor and off of the World Around Us gallery. In the Lyons Country Store, Arbor Annie had a fun time sorting fruits and vegetables. It is also a lot of fun to explore the drawers and other vintage items throughout the store.

Arbor Annie Visits Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum - Lyons Country Store

Arbor Annie loved to explore the Michigan Nature Room. She felt right at home among the trees and animals.

Arbor Annie Visits Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum - Michigan Nature Room

Tesla’s Egg of Columbus

In December, the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum was featured on an episode of Travel Channel’s Mysteries of the Museum. They are the only museum outside of Europe to have a Tesla’s Egg of Columbus. The egg is set spinning from its side to an end based on a magnetic field. When I asked my daughter what exhibits I should make sure to see with Arbor Annie, the Tesla’s Egg of Columbus was at the top of her list. 

Arbor Annie Visits Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum - Tesla's Egg of Columbus

Third & Fourth Floors

The Third Floor houses an optics and light display sponsored by DTE Energy. The Fourth Floor is the Media Works gallery where kids can learn how green screens work and shadow dance.

Preschool Gallery

Arbor Annie and I made our last stop in the Preschool Gallery which is designed just for kids ages 4 and under. The Preschool Gallery is a perfect place to play on a winter day. There is plenty of room for active play. The kids won’t even notice all of the things that they are learning! It is also a great section of the museum to retreat to when the museum is overrun by school field trips.

As I entered the Preschool Gallery, the first thing that I noticed was the Engineers on a Roll exhibit. My daughter had aged out of the preschool room about a year before it opened, so I had never seen it up close. The kids at the exhibit seemed to be having a great time. Arbor Annie also had fun checking out the balls rolling through the exhibit.

Arbor Annie Visits Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum - Engineers on a Roll

The trip through the Preschool Gallery was a wonderful trip down memory lane for me since my daughter aged out of the preschool room several years ago. I loved seeing the Fire Truck, water table, and other activities that my daughter enjoyed when she was younger.

Arbor Annie Visits Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum - Preschool Gallery

Upcoming Events at Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

Date/Time Event
The Little Scientists Club
at Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, Ann Arbor MI
Little Scientists Club
at Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, Ann Arbor MI
Pay What You Can
at Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, Ann Arbor MI

Visiting the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum


The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is located at 220 E. Ann St in Downtown Ann Arbor. Metered street parking is available on Ann and adjacent streets. There is a convenient parking garage located at 220 N. Ashley St. The garage was full the day I visited (it appeared to be under construction). I was able to find convenient parking on Detroit Street near the Ann Arbor Farmers Market. On weekends and evening, the courthouse lot at Ann and Main St is a conveniently located to the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum.


During the winter months, I always hate lugging our coats throughout a museum or shopping center. The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum makes winter visits easier by providing a coat room with hooks for both parent and child coats. There are also lockers available for any valuables that you don’t want to carry through the museum. When my daughter was younger, I often brought our stroller with us from the car but would leave it in the coatroom instead of taking it through the museum and having to deal with the elevator.

Arbor Annie Visits Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum - Front Desk & Coat Room

The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum offers a vending area with snack and beverage machines. You are also welcome to bring your own food (to eat in the vending area). There are also a number of restaurants in the surrounding area.

Arbor Annie Visits Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum - Vending Area


The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum hours of operation are:

  • Monday 10a-5p
  • Tuesday 9a-5p
  • Wednesdays 10a-5p
  • Thursdays 10a-8p
  • Fridays 10a-5p
  • Saturdays 10a-5p
  • Sundays noon-5p

The Museum keeps a list of holiday hours on their website.


Admission to the Hands-On Museum is $12 for guests ages 2 through adults. Guests from birth to 23 months are admitted for free. Thursday evenings the museum offers a discounted admission of $5 after 5p.


I definitely recommend an Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum Membership for Ann Arbor families. With our membership, we visit several times a year. We purchased our membership at our first visit when our daughter was 18 months. Sometimes we let a few months lapse before renewing it, but we’ve never gone more than a year without a membership. Family Memberships range from $75-125 based on the option you choose. The $75 membership works for our family. In addition to free admission to the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, members are also invited to Member Nights, and receive reciprocal admission to museums around the world. We’ve taken advantage of the reciprocal membership quite often when we travel.

Ticket Giveaway to Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

Now that you’ve read all about our trip to the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, are you ready to plan your family’s trip? The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum has given me a Family 4 Pack of tickets to giveaway to one of my readers. You can enter the contest which runs from January 8 through January 15 in the widget below (or in the link if you are on a mobile phone). 

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum Family 4 Pack

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Ann Arbor with Kids is your go-to source for Ann Arbor Family Fun. It got its start in an activity list that I was compiling for the playgroup I ran at our church. When my daughter started preschool, the other moms were thrilled to hear about my list. I decided to take the list public in 2009.

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